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Author: SuperUser Account/Sunday, January 1, 2012/Categories: General

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NORTH TONAWANDA—Surrounded by family, friends, top county elected officials and judges—not to
mention dozens of children not unlike those whose lives will be affected by her rulings—Niagara County’s
new family court judge was sworn in Sunday.

Kathleen Wojtaszek-Gariano, law clerk to outgoing Family Court Judge David Seaman and a former
Niagara Falls City Court judge, recited her oath of office twice—first having it administered by her former
boss and mentor, Seaman, and then by her father, North Tonawanda attorney Thomas Wojtaszek.

Wojtaszek-Gariano, whose new office will have her presiding over cases ranging from divorce and
custody proceedings to adoptions to juvenile delinquency, vowed to use the powers of her office to
change lives for the better. With a ten-year obligation ahead of her, she will have plenty of time to do

“As we all know, family court isn’t always a happy place,” Wojtaszek-Gariano told more than 150 wellwishers
gathered at Pane’s Restaurant, a popular North Tonawanda gathering place. “But I still think a
good family court judge can make a difference in people’s lives, and sometimes give them a second
chance when no one else will.”

The newly-minted judge was flanked by top county leaders and court officers as she took her oath.
Among those attending her swearing-in were Legislature Chairman William L. Ross, District Attorney
Michael Violante, Sheriff James R. Voutour, County Clerk Wayne F. Jagow, and several of the county’s
judges and town justices.

Wojtaszek-Gariano acknowledged that she expects to have to issue many difficult rulings in her new job,
but looks forward to the more uplifting moments in Niagara County Family Court.

“There’s always those happy moments, like watching a family’s joy when they adopt their children,”
Wojtaszek-Gariano said.

The new judge did get a vote of confidence from former colleagues.

Wojtaszek-Gariano wore a new black robe for the occasion, a gift from colleagues in Niagara County’s
court system after she secured the office in last fall’s elections. She said she had received a great deal
of encouragement from current Family Court employees during both her run for office and her transition
period since her landslide election victory.

“Running for this job was hard, but I could not have done it without the support of so many fine people
in this county,” she said. “I promise not to let the people of Niagara County down.”

Audio: Family Court Judge Kathleen Wojtaszek-Gariano


     Niagara County Family Court Judge Kathleen Wojtaszek-
     Gariano, r., recites her oath of office. Administering the
     oath, at left, is outgoing Family Court Judge David
     Seaman, while Wojtaszek-Gariano's father, Thomas
     Wojtaszek, looks on. Wojtaszek-Gariano, the first woman
     to hold the post of family court judge in Niagara County,
     has devoted her entire legal career to the practice of
     family law.



Niagara County Family Court Judge Kathleen Wojtaszek-Gariano, l., receives personal congratulations from County Clerk Wayne F. Jagow. Jagow, an ordained minister, then led approximately 150 well-wishers in a brief prayer for the new judge's wisdom on the bench. Jagow, who, having served 16 years in his post is the senior county-wide elected official, headed a delegation that included Sheriff James R. Voutour, District Attorney Michael Violante, Legislature Chairman William L. Ross, and most of Niagara County's judiciary, all turning out in force to witness Wojtaszek-Gariano's inauguration.



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